Summer 2020 FAQs for Continuing Rice Students

We understand that many of you are planning to take summer courses at Rice for the first time and might not understand the summer process. As a result, we have put together this FAQ page to help assist in your decision-making process. Feel free to reach out if you have more questions.

Courses, Credits, and Summer Schedule

  • When is the full and finalized summer course list expected to be complete?

    • The Office of the Registrar is diligently working to post all approved courses, while there is no hard deadline, we do believe that the vast majority of courses have already been added at this time.

  • I have never taken a summer course at Rice? How much work should I anticipate and how many credits is appropriate?

    • Summer courses are equally challenging to those typically offered during the academic year, but are condensed into a much shorter time period, often making them fast-paced and rigorous in nature. For these reasons, it is generally recommended that you take fewer credits during the summer. Courses that require you to continually build on the content in the course as you progress will require more dedication to ensure you do not fall behind. Each credit hour is equivalent to two--100 minutes of combined instruction and student preparation time. Generally speaking, for each hour you spend with the instructor, you can expect two additional hours of work outside of the classroom.

    • Ex. A three-credit course should generally take 9-12 hours of work per week during a full-semester (15-week) course. If you were to take that same course during a summer session (7-weeks), you are increasing your weekly workload to 19-26 hours per week when factoring in time spent in class, studying, or working on assignments.

  • What are the different sessions for the summer?

  • What do the sessions mean? Why are there letters and numbers? How does the number of weeks for a course relate to the length of each class for a course?

    • Each summer session varies in length and time within the summer. In general, the letters tend to correspond to the length of the course (6 week vs. 7 week vs. 10 week, etc.), while the number corresponds to the time of the summer the course will be offered (earlier in the summer vs. later in the summer). The class times (including the length of time per class) are listed in Banner when you register.

Registration and Add/Drop

  • When is the deadline to sign up for summer courses?

    • Deadlines to register for summer courses vary by summer session. A full list of summer registration deadlines may be found on the Office of the Registrar website.

  • When will Non-Rice students be able to register for summer courses?

    • Visiting (Non-Rice) students must first apply to become a visiting student via the process outlined on the Office of the Registrar website. Once admitted, those students may register for any open courses for which they meet all requirements. If a non-Rice individual plans to register for summer courses, the deadlines are tied to the individual session for which they apply. If they plan to take courses in multiple sessions, their deadline would be the earliest session’s deadline, no need to submit multiple applications.

  • If the professor agrees, am I allowed to special register for a summer course that is full?

  • Can I sign up for courses that are at the same time since classes are digital and you can just watch the other class later?

    • Although classes are online, many will have live class sessions associated with them and interactive components. Banner will not allow you to register for courses that overlap in time, so if you have an extenuating circumstance, be sure to reach out to the professor of the course to discuss this.

  • Can I drop courses like normal?

    • Yes, you will be able to drop courses as you would in a full-term fall/spring semester. However, the deadline is different than in a 15 week semester. The summer block the course is being offered in will dictate this deadline. The last day to drop a course is as follows:

      • Summer Block B1: May 27, 2020

      • Summer Block C1: June 3, 2020

      • Summer Block D1: June 17, 2020

      • Summer Block E1: July 1, 2020

      • Summer Block B2: July 15, 2020

      • Summer Block C2: July 22, 2020

    • You can also refer to the Summer 2020 calendar here for deadlines for each summer block.

  • Do I get my money back if I drop a course?

    • This depends on when you drop the course and the summer block of this course. Generally speaking, the earlier you drop a course, the more likely it is you will receive a full or partial refund. The closer you get to the drop deadline, the more likely it is that you will lose full tuition and fees. Please refer to the Summer 2020 calendar here for specific deadlines and how much tuition/fees you are eligible to receive for each summer block.

  • Is it possible that a summer course I am signed up for will be canceled?

    • As stated in the General Announcements, if a summer course does not generate enrollments sufficient to cover their costs, the class may be canceled prior to the first day of class. The department offering the course will notify you of the cancellation by email.

Grading and Pass/Fail

  • How does pass/fail work for the summer?

    • Currently enrolled Rice students can designate a summer course as Pass/Fail during the summer sessions. They will not be able to do this in their ESTHER account, but can do so by submitting a Pass/Fail Designation Form to the Office of the Registrar virtual front desk. Students can take a maximum of one course as Pass/Fail during the summer. That course will count toward the total of one Pass/Fail course per each full year of residence, up to a maximum of four during their time at Rice. Students should adhere to the applicable Pass/Fail deadlines, as stated in the Academic Calendar.

  • Can I uncover a Pass/Fail after I complete a course?

    • As noted in the General Announcements, currently enrolled Rice students that designate a summer course Pass/Fail, can convert Pass/Fail to a grade, but can only be done via form from the Office of the Registrar. Students should adhere to the applicable Pass/Fail deadlines, as stated in the Academic Calendar.

  • Will grading scales be altered for Summer 2020 due to COVID-19 (similar to Spring 2020)?

    • No; the standard grading scale will be in effect for Summer 2020. As summer coursework is optional, no course or grading modifications have been made due to COVID-19 with the exception of moving all coursework online.

Financial Aid and Payment

  • How does financial aid for summer courses work? Who should I contact for more information?

    • For current Rice students, the university understands that the pandemic this year has interrupted many plans. Because of this, the university is offering summer courses at a discounted rate, including those that are graduating. The reduced fee for Rice students is $250 per credit hour and students who receive need-based aid are eligible for a 50% discount on the $250.

    • Rice students may be eligible to apply for additional federal loan funds if enrolled for six or more hours at Rice University during the summer term. Financial aid is not available for visiting students. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information by phone (713-348-4958) or email (

  • What is the timeline for paying for summer courses?

    • Account balances are due at the beginning of each semester, however, payment plans are available to those that wish to make installment payments.

Resources and Tools

  • Where can I find the most up to date list of courses being offered? What if a department says a course exists but it’s not there?

    • You can find the most up-to-date list of course offerings on the Course Schedule. This is published by the Office of the Registrar and will offer the most reliable information available. If a department has stated that a course is available, but it has not yet populated in, just be patient! It can take a couple of days to get the information processed and updated, so check back regularly!

  • What resources can I refer to when I have questions?

    • Please reference Rice Summer Sessions and Office of the Registrar for the most up-to-date information, calendars, FAQs, and tools. Of course, if you have any individual questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the advisors in the OAA for help by calling 713-348-4060 or emailing

Office | Ley Student Center, Suite 132

Click here to schedule an appointment with an OAA advisor.

Phone | 713.348.4060, 713.348.2637

Email |